The Pogues were an English punk band, consisting of British and Irish performers, that were active in the 1980s and early 1990s. They were originally called Pogue Mahone, an anglicised spelling of the Irish for Kiss My Arse, but they were forced to change their name to get radio play on the BBC. While the band went through a number of line-up changes, mostly during the later years after Shane MacGowan was sacked due to problems with alcohol, the main members were: Shane MacGowan on vocals, guitar, banjo and bodhrán; Spider Stacy on vocals and tin whistle; James Fearnley on accordion, mandolin, piano and guitar; Philip Chevron on guitar and vocals; Cait O'Riordan on bass and vocals until 1986 when she quit and Darryl Hunt took over on bass; and Terry Woods on mandolin, cittern, concertina, guitar and vocals.
Kirsty MacColl was an English singer and songwriter. She was the daughter of folk singer Ewan MacColl, though he had little to do with her music career. She started recording as a member of the band Drug Addix, using the name Mandy Doubt, and released 1 single Gay Boys in Bondage in 1978. She was then given a solo recording contract and released her 1st solo single in 1979. On 18 December, 2000, Kirsty was diving with her sons in the National Marine Park in Cozumel in Mexico, when she pushed her eldest son out of the way of a speeding boat, belonging to Mexican millionaire Guillermo González Nova, saving her son's life but losing her own.
Fairytale Of New York was originally released as a single in November 1987 and then on The Pogues album If I Should Fall from Grace with God. It was originally written in 1985, The Pogues recorded many versions, with bass player Cait O’Riordan singing the female part in the early recordings, but the band were not happy with those takes. After Cait left the band, to be with their former producer Elvis Costello, their new producer, Steve Lillywhite took the tapes home for his then wife Kirsty MacColl to record a vocal guide track. When the band heard the recordings they knew that she was the perfect singer for the track. The song tells the story of an Irish Immigrant to New York who has been locked up in the drunk tank for Christmas Eve and is remembering past Christmases and the deteriorating relationship with the songs female character.
You can buy Fairytale Of New York on iTunes.